FILE - NY John Flanagan 3-30-2018

New York Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan walks with a staff member to a meeting March 30, 2018, at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y.

(The Center Square) – New York Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan announced Wednesday that he will not be seeking reelection to his seat in the Legislature.

“For almost thirty-four years I have enjoyed the privilege, honor and distinction of serving as an elected official in the New York state Legislature,” Flanagan said in a news release. “The opportunity to serve the public for virtually all of my adult life has enriched every aspect of my life, and so it is with a heavy but extremely proud heart that I announce today that I will not be seeking re-election to the New York state Senate.”

Flanagan served eight terms in the Assembly and is in his ninth term in the Senate. He was Senate Majority Leader from 2015 to 2019, becoming minority leader after the Democratic Party took control of the chamber following the 2018 election.

Flanagan’s district covers a portion of Suffolk County on Long Island.

“John Flanagan has been a friend and trusted colleague, and I'm sorry to learn that he will not seek re-election,” Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay said in a news release. “I'm sure that this was an extremely difficult decision for him to reach. Few things were more important to him than serving the people of his district and our state.”

Flanagan was first elected to the legislature at age 25, succeeding his late father as an assemblyman in 1987. He moved to the Senate following the 2002 election.

He gave no indication in his statement Wednesday that he was considering stepping down from his seat or leadership position before the end of the term.

“The timing of this announcement is not particularly ideal, but I am making it now because of the constraints of the political calendar that guides our elections,” he said. “Our great State is clearly in a time of crisis and now more than ever we need leaders to guide our public policy as true representatives of our taxpayers and constituents.”

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Delphine Luneau is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. She was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship was named best weekly in Illinois, and she has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.